Suggestions for Improving the Characterisation of Risk from Exposures to Per and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)

By Mikkonen, Antti T., Jennifer Martin, Michael L. Dourson, Andrea Hinwood, and Mark S. Johnson
Environ Toxicol Chem
November 22, 2020
DOI: 10.1002/etc.4931

Many state and Federal environmental and health agencies have developed risk-based criteria for assessing the risk of adverse health effects of PFAS exposure to humans and the environment. However, the criteria that have been developed vary; drinking water criteria developed for PFOA, for example, can vary by up to 750. This is due to differences and variability in the data and information used, study/endpoint selection, assumptions and magnitude of uncertainty factors used in the absence and extrapolation of critical effect data, differences in underlying approaches to addressing exposure within criteria development, and/or policy decisions on levels of acceptable risk. Here we have critically evaluated the methods used to develop these criteria while focussing on derivation and application of drinking water criteria and discuss a range of improvements to risk characterisation practice recently presented at a SETAC Focused Topic Meeting on PFAS conducted by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Durham, North Carolina, USA 12-15 AUG 2019. Here we propose methods that consider maximizing the use of disparate data streams, seeking patterns, and proposing biological-based approaches to evidence integration towards informed criteria development. 


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